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Mapping "mobility windows" in European higher education. Examples from selected countries (MOWIN)


October 2011 - September 2013


Deutsches Zentrum für Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsforschung (DZHW, formerly HIS-HF) and the Centre for International Mobility (CIMO)


Mapping “mobility windows” in European higher education. Examples from selected countries — in short MOWIN — was a two-year (October 2011 — September 2013 ) project funded by the EU and implemented by the Brussels-based Academic Cooperation Association (ACA) in collaboration with the Deutsches Zentrum für Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsforschung (DZHW, formerly HIS-HF) in Germany and the Centre for International Mobility (CIMO) in Finland. The project aimed at exploring the concept of “mobility windows” which, despite being rather vague, was used frequently in various European policy documents. 

In this spirit, the MOWIN partners set a goal to:

1. clarify the notion of “mobility windows” in the form of a definition;
2. elaborate a typology of “mobility windows” reflecting various practices applied in selected European countries and higher education institutions; and
3. explore best practices and challenges faced by selected institutions and study programmes in five selected countries (Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Romania) and draw broad lessons about the “DO’s” and “DON’Ts” of different models of “mobility windows”.

The project objectives were achieved through a set of qualitative research methods—desk research, online surveys, face-to-face interviews—as well as through several rounds of validation of the elaborated theoretical framework and consultations with external stakeholders. For this purpose, the project was closely scrutinized an external QA Council, i.e. an Advisory Board, that helped assure quality of the research results. Members of the Board were:

• Fiona Hunter, International Director, Carlo Cattaneo University, Italy; 
• Jonna Korhonen, Project Officer and Data Analyst, European University Association (EUA), Belgium;
• Rok Primožič, Chairperson, European Student Union (ESU), Belgium;
• Alf Rasmussen, Director of the Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU), Norway;
• Marina Steinmann, Head of Section “Bologna Process”, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Germany; and
• Ulrich Teichler, Professor emeritus and former Director of the International Centre for Higher Education Research (INCHER-Kassel), Germany.

The findings of the MOWIN project were published in the form of a paper publication titled Mobility windows from concept to practice (150 pages), which appeared in the well-established and widely-read series of ACA Papers on International Cooperation in Education (Lemmens Verlag, Bonn). Presented officially in September 2013 at a launch reception in Brussels, the publication was distributed across the partners’ broad network of contacts among European higher education and research policy-makers and information multipliers, as well as the individual higher education institutions and programmes which had supported the MOWIN project. 

The research results were and continue to be disseminated also outside the project lifespan, particularly at international higher education conferences. Such an example was the 39th ACA European Policy Seminar—Mobility windows and internationalisation of the curriculum—which took place on 5 December 2013 in Brussels and gathered 170 participants. 

The sound theoretical framework developed by the partners to put forward the definition and typology of mobility windows provides a significant contribution to the European-level discourse of structured mobility and internationalisation of the curricula. The developed concept is highly relevant in the context of the implementation of the Bologna Process, the EU’s Strategic Framework for Education and Training and the European learning mobility benchmarks, as well as other European higher education policies and programmes (e.g., Mobility Strategy of the European Higher Education Area, the Commission’s “European higher education in the world” communication, and Erasmus+).

For further details about the project and the related publication, please contact Irina Ferencz at ACA (irina.ferencz(at)